Global eCommerce: What is eCommerce Expansion and How Does it Work?
When it comes to selling online, there are multiple ways in which you can expand your business – generate more income, by growing your brand presence and customer portfolio at the same time. One of the easiest ways of expanding your eCommerce business is through international eCommerce expansion – with cross-border eCommerce a key factor in the growth of online retailers from small businesses to large corporations.
To look at global eCommerce statistics, it has been found that 58.4% of internet users buy something online every week – and that online retail sales are expected to grow over 50% over the next four years, amounting to $4.9 trillion US dollars to more than $7 trillion dollars.
Reading these stats, it is impossible to dispute the vast scale of the opportunity available to those who embrace eCommerce expansion and work to build their online presence through both marketplace platforms and their own online presence. But where do you start and how can you, as a seller, tap into the opportunity presented by the global online community?
In this blog, we look at how eCommerce expansion works – introducing you to some of the areas you need to consider as a seller, and the services that can help you to reach and surpass your goals.
What is eCommerce expansion?
eCommerce expansion is a means through which your business expands via online channels and is able to be sold across new markets and territories – sometimes locally and sometimes on a global scale. Whether you pursue expansion through marketplace sites and platforms like Amazon, or via your own website, the opportunity that can be found in and across new markets is huge – and can enable you to branch into new product lines and industries dependent on the target audience you are attracting and their demand for products within your collection or range.
The benefits don’t end there. International eCommerce in particular boasts a range of benefits for sellers, including the ease with which sellers can become established in new locations and markets, the amplified brand awareness that comes as a result of the plethora of platforms available to eCommerce sellers, and the direct link to consumers in new markets.
With all that said, what do sellers need to understand and consider before chasing international and global expansion?
What you need to know about selling overseas
First things first, once you start creating an international customer base there is a lot more paperwork involved in being a seller. Everything from customs declarations and VAT registration and duty tax, to RP and compliance, different terminology, and ever-changing consumer demand mean that selling overseas is a minefield of local knowledge. By combining our 3PL service with the support of a dedicated growth and compliance team, here at GEE we are primed and ready to support your move overseas and ensure that you are not only selling under full regulations but are appealing to the right audience in the right way.
But that’s not all!
Because international eCommerce expansion requires more than just a basic understanding of what it means to sell to a new market under new regulations and guidelines. To expand online means following a series of steps to ensure optimum success – the most important of which is establishing the marketplace demand for your products on your chosen platform and in your chosen location.
Finding your customer base
Many sellers fall into the misconception that because something is popular in the US market, it will also be popular in the European or UK market. But the fact is that different locations have different demands and preferences – effective eCommerce expansion requires an in-depth understanding of your target market in terms of what you want to sell to them and how your products will perform in light of competition and audience demand.
Once you’ve established a calling for your product, you need to channel time and investment into localising your product listings and making sure that they are authentic – with imagery, local translations and wording which will appeal to the local audience in your target market. Again, this is where a lot of sellers slip up and alienate buyers before they can commit to a purchase.
Setting up payment systems
Following on from the last point about localised marketing, making sure that international customers can pay via a method which works for them is integral to conversion and ensuring that the customer experience is as seamless as possible.
Choose a payment provider with high-security features and do your research to understand how different customers in different markets like to pay. Payoneer is one such partner which facilitates payments across different regions, localising the experience for customers and enabling them to continue to checkout in the way that best suits them.
Find the best way to market
Are you expanding internationally via a marketplace like Amazon, Wish, OnBuy, or eBay; or through your own website?
Are you going to take advantage of FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon, a service which is available to Amazon sellers only and which offers them warehouse solutions and support and distributing items in their target market) or do you need to research and find your own fulfilment solutions to ensure a seamless customer experience and product journey?
Finding the best way to market doesn’t just mean reaching out to your target audience – it also means setting up an end-to-end process whereby your products can make it to their front door in a timely manner and with guaranteed quality. An external 3PL service provided by a vendor like GEE is the best way to achieve this, with our team able to support you through their two warehouses locations (UK and Netherlands), managing your customs and duty tax, ensuring secure warehousing and storage, and meeting all your fulfilment needs including delivery and returns processing and re-labelling services.
The global opportunity
The prime benefit of eCommerce is that it opens sellers up to a borderless target audience. Through the internet, it is easier than ever to reach audiences in far-flung locations and brand new markets – with the variety of platforms and systems available all supporting sellers who branch out into new territories.
Through eCommerce expansion, you become empowered to take your business global and catapult it to new heights – but in order to do so effectively and sustainably, you also need to make sure you have the right systems and support in place to handle the intricacies of documentation, fulfilment, inventory, and more.
For more information on how to achieve eCommerce success on a global scale, with the help of a company that has your business’s best interests at heart, visit our website or get in touch directly.